Long Meg and her Daughters Stone Circle Cumbria
Welcome to the EDGE Guide to the stone circles of Cumbria.
Long Meg and her Daughters
Nearest Town: Penrith.
Location: NY 571372, Sheet 91.
A mile or so to the north of the village of Little Salkeld off the A686 Penrith to Alston road stands the impressive Long Meg and her Daughters.
'A weight of awe not easy to be borne
Fell Suddenly upon my spirit, cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that sisterhood forelorn;-
And Her, whose strength and stature seemed to scorn
The power of years - pre-eminent, and placed
Apart, to overlook the circle vast.
Speak Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn,
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of night;
Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud,
When, how and wherefore, rose on British ground
That wondrous Monument, whose mystic round
Forth shadows, some have deemed, to mortal sight
The inviolable God that tames the proud.'
So wrote William Wordsworth after stumbling upon Long Meg and her Daughters in 1833.
Long Meg herself is a stone set outside the circle just under 12ft/4m high and has some concentric circular carvings. The circle (the Daughters) is made up of 69 stones.
This is the third largest stone circle in Britain, 350ft/109m at its widest point.
The circle has suffered over the years and the number of stones present has shrunk dramatically. This is a common fate for stone circles. The stones are tempting for use in building and farmers want fields that are easy to plow.
The desire to plow the field completely almost saw the total destruction of the site in the late 18th centuary - Colonel Lacy the land owner, of nearby Salkeld Hall decided to have the stones blasted with gun powder.
When the work began a terrible thunder storm erupted. This was taken by the labourers as a sign of the circles Supernatural power to defend herself - they fled in terror and would not carry out the work.
Lacy had a change of heart and the left the Long Meg and her Daughters to them selves.
Legend has it that the Daughters are a coven of witches turned to stone.
One of the cup and ring carvings on Long Meg.
A track runs through the circle to a farm and it is possible to park on the verge in the field containing the circle.
Part of the circle in misty conditions. Long Meg
is in the background.
Not far to the north east (NY 577375) is Little Meg, only 18ft wide and with comparatively small stones though the largest is over 4ft high.